Choosing A Travel Credit Card? Make Sure To Check The Annual Fees & Usage Category

As the world gears up for post-Covid international travel, travel credit card offers are abundant to come your way. The credit card market has gained traction and has come up with the best travel credit cards to suit the new world. 

How do I choose the best travel credit card? What should I look for while shopping for a travel credit card?

There are many factors that make up a good credit card:

  • The Annual Fee
  • Rewards Program
  • Interest Rate
  • Shopping and Lifestyle Offers
  • Merchant Discounts

are some of the points you have to look into while choosing a good travel credit card. But experts have time and again urged that ‘Annual Fee and Usage Category’ are the key points that influence users to choose the right travel credit card. 

Annual Fee: Should I get a Travel Credit Card that has no Annual Fee? 

The annual fee is an important charge on every credit card. This fee is charged every year to maintain your card and continue giving you the best offers. The annual fee on a card differs depending on the features given by the card. While Silver or Gold variants of a card come with a low annual fee. Platinum cards may have a higher annual fee. 

There are a number of cards that come with no annual fees or very low annual fees. You should compare the benefits of these cards to choose what is best for you. 

When is it okay to pay Annual Fees on your Travel Credit Card?

Generally, it’s worth it to pay the annual fees on a travel credit card when the benefits outweigh the fee cost. Generally, the following cards charge annual fees:

  • Premium Members Cards
  • Reward Cards
  • Secure Credit Cards

The above cards come with a host of benefits. However, ensure that the benefits you receive are more than the annual fee you pay. 

Some Of The Benefits That Are Offered With Travel Credit Cards

With so many benefits to frequent travellers, it is not very easy to find a travel credit card with no annual fee. But they do provide these exclusive benefits for you: 

  1. Welcome Gift: Most travel credit cards come with a welcome gift in the form of considerable air miles or a lot of reward points to get you started. These points are available for redemption at both domestic and international hotels and flights. 
  2. Complimentary Airport Lounge Access: This is one of the best features of travel credit cards. The number of complimentary airport lounge access varies based on your card type. For frequent travellers, this means comfort and luxury. 
  3. Travel Insurance: This is another feature that you have to definitely look into. Insurance is a nightmare for frequent travellers. When given for free, it’s a huge benefit for frequent travellers. Many cards come with free travel insurance that covers multiple aspects of your travels. 
  4. Nil liability on lost card: It is a nightmare when you lose your card in a foreign land. If you report the loss or theft of your card to the bank within a stipulated time, you will be freed of all fraudulent transactions and liabilities on the card made since the reporting of the loss. 
  5. Annual Fee Waiver: This is another feature that attracts users. Most cards have the feature of waiving the annual fee if you use the card for spends over and above a certain amount. This amount usually ranges in the Rs. 75,000 to Rs.1 lakh range and it is quite easily achievable. So you get this annual fee waiver most of the times. 

What Are The Best Travel Credit Cards In India?

Credit CardsBonus & RewardsJoining Fee (In Rs. )Annual Fee (In Rs. )
Citi Premiermiles CardWithin the first 60 days of receiving your card, spend Rs. 1,000 and earn 10,000 bonus miles.
When you renew your membership, you’ll get 3,000 bonus miles.
As applicableAs applicable
Air India SBI Signature CardWhen you pay your joining fee, you’ll get 20,000 reward points.
In a year, you can earn up to 1,00,000 bonus reward points.
Air India SBI Platinum CardWhen you pay your joining fee, you’ll get 5,000 bonus points.
In a year, you can earn up to 15,000 bonus reward points.
Yatra SBI CardGet Rs. 8,250 worth of vouchers.
After paying Rs. 90,000 in the current year, get your annual membership fee refunded for the next year.
Etihad Guest SBI Premier CardOn quarterly spends of Rs. 1.5 lakhs, you’ll earn 1,500 Etihad Guest Miles.
The annual fee will be refunded after the second year if you invest at least Rs. 5 lakhs in a year.
Etihad Guest SBI CardOn annual spending of Rs. 5 lakhs, earn 5,000 Etihad Guest Miles.
Spend a minimum of Rs. 3 lakhs in a year to have the annual charge reversed from the second year onward.
JetPrivilege HDFC Bank WorldGet up to 7,500 Bonus InterMiles as a welcome bonus. Also, get an Rs. 750 discount voucher code when you book return flights at
After paying Rs. 3 lakhs in the 12 months prior to renewal, your renewal fee will be waived. 
HDFC Superia Card1,000 reward points as a welcome bonus
The accrued reward points can be exchanged for air miles on over 20 foreign airlines or any major domestic airline.
As applicableAs applicable
HDFC All MilesOn certain purchases made on the ALLMILES website, you will receive double reward points.
Redeem points for fun prizes from an exclusive rewards list.
InterMiles ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit CardAs a joining value, you’ll get 10,000 bonus InterMiles as well as a free discount voucher code worth Rs. 750.
On renewal, earn 5,000 bonus InterMiles and a free voucher code worth Rs. 500.
InterMiles ICICI Rubyx Credit CardAs a welcome bonus, you’ll get 5,000 bonus InterMiles.Within 45 days of paying the joining fee, you’ll get 2,500 bonus InterMiles.25002500
InterMiles ICICI Bank Coral Credit CardEvery year when you renew your membership, you’ll get 1,250 bonus InterMiles.12501250
American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card5,000 Milestone Bonus Membership Rewards Points as a welcome gift, redeemable for IndiGo Vouchers worth Rs. 4000.
At EXTRA Membership Rewards Program Partners, you can receive up to 20 membership reward points for every Rs.100 charged to your wallet.
Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit CardReceive 10,000 Bonus InterMiles as well as a free Jet Airways ticket as a welcome gift.
Earn 16 InterMiles for every Rs. 150 spent on Jet Airways revenue fares.
Axis Bank Vistara Credit CardWhen you register, you will receive one complimentary Economy Class ticket.
Spend Rs. 50,000 within the first 90 days of the card’s issuance date to gain 1,000 CV Points.
Axis Bank Vistara Infinite Credit CardEnjoy a complimentary Business Class ticket as a welcome gift.

Spend Rs. 1,00,000 within the first 60 days of card issuance and get 10,000 bonus CV Points.
Axis Bank Vistara Signature Credit CardReceive a free Premium Economy Class ticket as a welcome gift.
If you spend Rs. 75,000 within the first 90 days of receiving your card, you’ll get 3,000 bonus CV points.

Key Takeaways

The market is filled with numerous travel credit cards with attractive offers and benefits. The annual fee is an important factor in deciding a card and so is the category of travel card. The consumer is spoilt for choices and hence has to make careful considerations before choosing and applying for a travel credit card.

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